Choosing the destination for you
So how do you go about deciding which place is best for you and your family? You might imagine that most newcomers would suggest that economic factors were the chief reason for their choice of final destination, perhaps even climate or the existence of a particular ethnic community in an area. However, surprisingly enough, according to a recent survey of immigrants to Canada, most newcomers (78%) settle in areas where their network of friends and relatives live! Three quarters of all new immigrants also settle in one of Canada's three largest cities, Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. Only 19% chose their destination because of job prospects, 7% lifestyle, 6% education prospects and 6% because of housing prices in the area.
Choosing to move to where your relatives live, or picking a city that is well known might seem like an obvious and logical thing to do under the circumstances, but it may not always be the wisest choice. Strategically choosing your settlement destination may bring greater rewards in the short and longer term.
There are many areas in Canada where business is booming but there are severe shortages of skilled trades people. For example, a recent TV broadcast in Alberta highlighted the desperate need for more than 40 electricians, welders, meat cutters and construction workers in rural communities throughout the province. If you are a skilled trades person and prepared to settle in a rural community, you will be in high demand by Canadian employers in many provinces and may qualify for a work permit within 4-6 months. Gaining Canadian work experience will be viewed favourably should you then choose to apply for a Permanent Resident visa or if your employer nominates you for the Provincial Nominee Program while you are living temporarily in Canada.
When choosing a settlement destination it clearly pays to do choose strategically. Start your research by finding out if there is a high demand for your particular skills or trade. Find out where in Canada those skill shortages exist and target those areas as possible settlement destinations in the first instance.
Find out as much as possible about all the Canadian provinces and territories. Consider choosing a destination that is less well known, but which may offer you job prospects and a quality of life far superior to what the three main metropolitan areas can offer. Do your homework, and you will not be disappointed!
Thelma O'Connor emigrated to Canada in 1995 and now runs Canada Wise, a settlement and information service for newcomers.